Ghana counts 221 Districts in 16 Regions and a population of 31 million people. LoCAL is engaged in 3 Regions in Ghana.

Climate Vulnerability:

More than 80 per cent of disasters in metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) are climate-related and affect key growth and economic sectors such as agriculture, forestry and fisheries; as well as environmental sanitation, water supply and management. Other vulnerabilities include migration which adds pressure on urban services; deteriorating health because of increased disease; severe impacts on land use leading to loss of biodiversity and soil fertility, land degradation and increased deforestation; and exposure of fragile groups such as women and youth to climate change impacts.

National Response

In 2013, Ghana launched its National Climate Change Policy, which includes the three objectives of effective adaptation, social development and mitigation. Four thematic areas have been identified to address adaptation issues in Ghana: energy and infrastructure, natural resource management, agriculture and food security, and disaster preparedness and response. As highlighted in the National Climate Change Policy, the Ministry of Local Government, Decentralization and Rural Development, which aims to ensure good governance and equitable development of MMDAs, plays an important role in ensuring climate change is mainstreamed at the local level. Ghana’s intended nationally determined contributions include 11 adaptation programmes of action in priority economic sectors for implementation over 2020–2030 – notably, sustainable land use including food security; climate-proof infrastructure; and equitable social development.



LoCAL actions address adaptation issues in Ghana, in particular around: energy and infrastructure, natural resource management, agriculture and food security, and disaster preparedness and response.

LoCAL in Ghana combines performance-based climate resilience grants (PBCRGs) with technical and building capacity support to ensure climate change adaptation is mainstreamed into government’s planning and budgeting systems, and to increase awareness and response to climate change at the local level.

3 Regions engaged

24 Adaptation investments

60,000 Direct Beneficiaries

Budget: US$ 1,734,564

LoCAL Water Investment in Ada East ©UNCDF/LoCALPhoto Edinam Amewode 2020

Action on Climate Change:

Since inception, 24 climate change adaptation investments, benefiting approximately 60,000 people, were realized in the three pilot MMDAs. These interventions include the following:

■ Reforestation/afforestation, such as reforestation of degraded reserve forest land along the Akrum and Osubin Rivers and planting of different tree species along streams in Effutu and Fanteakwa North Districts, respectively,

■ Bridges were constructed and roads through a culvert rehabilitated. A dugout to support all- season vegetable farming was another intervention undertaken. Public infrastructure such as schools have been made more resilient through tree planting to withstand storms and strong winds.

■ Mechanized boreholes and water storage facilities were constructed; these improved access to water for more than 1,200 people In Ada East and Fanteakwa North.

■ Sensitization activities on climate change and specific trainings on bush fire prevention, coastal erosion prevention and early warning systems were held in all three MMDAs.

UNCDF, in partnership with SNV, a Netherlands development agency, secured funding from the European Union Trust Fund for Africa to implement the Boosting Green Employment and Enterprise Opportunities in Ghana (GrEEn) Project, launched in 2020.

The GrEEn Project will take Ghana to LoCAL Phase II and will deploy PBCRGs to focus on creating jobs locally, in particular for migrant returnees, women and youths. GrEEn will use cash-for-work programmes and support for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in the green economy, while promoting climate resilience.



The overall outcome of LoCAL-Ghana is to improve the resilience of MMDAs to climate change as a result of increased access to climate change adaptation financing through performance-based climate resilience grants (PBCRGs). The objectives are as follows:
■ Respond to the increasing impact of climate change in Ghana in accordance with local prioritized needs and vulnerabilities in a sustainable manner with sufficient consideration for the operation and maintenance of the structures supported
■ Promote robust, transparent and accountable public financial management / public expenditure management systems by providing funds to make the local planning and budgeting process meaningful, efficient, effective and participatory as well as strengthening incentives for climate change adaptation activities
Four outputs will contribute to achievement of these objectives: (i) effective and transparent climate change financing mechanism in place for local governments (MMDAs) through the establishment of the PBCRG system linked with the existing District Assemblies Common Fund Responsiveness Factor Grant (DACF RFG); (ii) inclusive, effective and accountable climate change adaptation planning process designed and integrated in the MMDA local development planning process;
(iii) effective capacity development mechanism promoted to strengthen MMDA capacities for climate change adaptation; and (iv) climate change adaptation activities efficiently, effectively and transparently implemented and reported by participating MMDAs through the PBCRG system.


  • Since its 2015 launch, the PBCRG system has been fully aligned with the DACF RFG introduced in 2008 to support enhancement of MMDA capacity through capital grants, capacity development support and incentives for improved performance in – among other areas – public financial management, procurement systems, revenue mobilization and good governance. The PBCRG constitutes an average top-up of 10–15 per cent of the DACF RFG.

  • Three MMDAs, with a combined population of 308,008, were selected to pilot the approach: the Fanteakwa North District, the Ada East District and the Efutu Municipal Assemblies.

  • A technical assistance mission commissioned by UNCDF and the Korea Environment Institute was organized in 2016 to review climate information (risks, vulnerability and adaptation assessments) to inform adaptation planning and mainstreaming into local development planning and make recommendations to strengthen local capacities. This resulted in the 2019 preparation of a LoCAL country report on climate risk and vulnerability assessment which incorporates the local dimension, identifying and mapping climate risk, exposure and vulnerability hotspots at subnational and local/community levels and prioritize climate change adaptation actions and investments based on quantified and evidence-based analysis, and may serve to update nationally determined contributions and define main adaptation targets and actions in synergy with boosting and accelerating SDGs achievement, particularly SDG 13. This work is the basis for development of the Local Information System for Adaptation (LISA) to provide local governments and communities with a user-friendly platform to access relevant climate information. This exercise was launched in 2020 and Is expected to be finalized in 2021.

  • UNCDF commissioned two technical assistance missions in 2017 and 2018 to design LoCAL Phase II in a consultative manner. The performance assessment system under Phase II, particularly the minimum conditions, has been further aligned with the FOAT and renamed the District Assemblies Common Fund Responsiveness Factor Grant. The design note for Phase II was endorsed by the partners and the Government of Ghana, and the country is ready to move to Phase II.

  • This approach led to the inclusion of climate indicators in the country’s performance- based grant system of the decentralization sector as well as to the inclusion of climate change considerations in the forthcoming National Decentralization Policy and National Decentralization Strategy (2020–2024).

  • The Government of Ghana has expressed a strong desire to further mainstream adaptation activities in all procedures at the MMDA level, focusing on strengthening district environmental committees and compliance with various environmental safeguards, as well as drawing attention to the expanding role of MMDAs in addressing climate change at the local level.

  • UNCDF, in partnership with the SNV Netherlands Development Agency, has consequently secured funding from the European Union, through the European Union Trust Fund for Africa, to implement the Boosting Green Employment and Enterprise Opportunities in Ghana (GrEEn) project, which commenced at the start of 2020. The GrEEn initiative has expanded PBCRGs to 10 MMDAs, moving Ghana to Phase II of the LoCAL implementation cycle.

  • The GrEEn project embeds LoCAL Phase II design, building on the experiences of LoCAL- Ghana Phase I. The PBCRGs under the GrEEn project are being deployed to deliver green and resilient local infrastructure through a cash-for-work component and procurement to local small and medium-sized enterprises.

Way Forward

■ The climate risk assessment undertaken in Ghana with the Korea Environment Institute, to
be complemented with the LISA, is expected to further help participating local government authorities strengthen their adaptation planning with a view towards prioritizing interventions yielding greater impacts in terms of climate change adaptation and increased resilience of target communities. Efforts will be devoted to the appropriation of these tools by the MMDAs.
■ The mechanism will be gradually rolled out in 13 MMDAs by 2023 under the GrEEn project. In close collaboration with the MMDAs, GrEEn will assist local governments in developing and implementing green and climate-resilient local investments that foster employability for returnees, youth and women through cash for work and procurement to local MSMEs, which will stimulate the local economies.
■ LoCAL will be further integrated into decentralization systems in all its features. As the Assessing Climate Change Adaptation Framework (ACCAF) is rolled out in the country, LoCAL will work with the National Planning Commission to include the methodology as a tool to support MMDAs In formulating their mid-term development plans.
■ National roll-out is envisaged from 2024 onwards (Phase III); preparing for this is an integral part of Phase II. Policy advice, readiness support, support for accreditation and adjustment to project design as needed are foreseen to ensure that the country can transition to Phase III and initiate national roll-out after the four-year GrEEn project ends.

More Information

Climate change adaptation falls within the core mandate of community councils, along with land use planning, natural resource management and infrastructure development. Climate change adaptation requires effective coordination of various stakeholders. As a gateway for development facilitation at the local level as well as custodians of all development, community councils are strategically positioned to play this coordination role. However, community councils seldom have sufficient resources to execute these functions.

The overall outcome of LoCAL-Lesotho is to improve the climate change resilience of the communities in the selected councils as a result of climate change adaptation activities funded through the performance-based climate resilience grant (PBCRG) and capacity development support. By promoting climate change–resilient communities and economies via increasing financing for and investment in climate change adaptation at the local level, LoCAL-Lesotho will directly contribute to one of the country’s development plan pillars – reversing environmental degradation and adapting to climate change.

The objectives for LoCAL-Lesotho are as follows:

• Increased transfer of climate finance to local governments through national institutions and systems for building verifiable climate change adaptation and resilience

• A standard and recognized country-based mechanism which supports direct access to international climate finance

Four outputs are envisaged:

(i) inclusive and accountable climate change adaptation is mainstreamed into local council planning;

(ii) government, local authority and population awareness of and capacities in adaptation and resilience planning are improved;

(iii) an effective country PBCRG finance mechanism is established and operational, providing additional funding to targeted community councils; and

(iv) experience and lessons learned are consolidated and shared.waiting results of annual performance assessment (APA). Lessons are being drawn from the LoCAL pilot to expand the LoCAL and its PBCRG mechanism to additional community councils in Lesotho and to attract additional finance to be channelled through the LoCAL mechanism to finance locally led adaptation and increase resilience of communities and local economies. This intends to prepare for a fully integrated mechanism into the country systems and a scaling-up country-wide.



Way Forwar

Stories from the Field


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